top of page

Time Out to Reflect

Featured on the Hong Kong Economic Journal (December 7, 2015)

I love Christmas time and especially celebrating it in a city that is full of lights and excitement for the season. I love how everyone seems to be in a happier mood, is thinking about what to buy for others and enjoying celebratory meals.

The downside to all the festivities and celebrations is that we can sometimes get

too busy in it all. And for a city like Hong Kong that’s already bustling with busyness throughout the year, Christmas time just becomes escalated. The problem with busyness is that it can cloud our vision of focusing on what is urgent rather than what is important.

And as President Eisenhower said, ““What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”

Eisenhower created what is now known as the ‘Eisenhower Decision Matrix’ that helps people differentiate between the urgent and the important. It looks something like this:

Of course we should attend that that which is ‘urgent and important’ and when it comes to children, it could involve averting an accident. Often we also attend to the ‘urgent and not important’ like how we respond to emails within 2 seconds of receiving them but isn’t particularly necessary. It’s also easy to fall into the trap of spending time on the ‘not urgent and not important’ and I am often guilty of that – watching TV and YouTube videos, checking Facebook newsfeed every 5 minutes for updates and shopping online.

The quadrant that I think we really miss out on is the ‘important but not urgent’. It’s so easy to have our attention swept away by the urgent things that demand our immediate attention. And it’s easy for the important things in life so get swept aside. Things like investing in relationships, like doing regular exercise, like taking time to reflect on life. I think it’s important that once in a while, we take the time out to reflect on the things we do in our lives. Sometimes we can become like the hamsters that run on their wheel – we just keep running and running but we don’t know where we’re going. We need to take the time out to sit down, take a step back and reflect on the big picture of life.

And as we prepare for the new year, and perhaps some new years resolutions, some reflection questions could be:

1. What are the most important things/people in my life?

2. What have I done this year that I am proud of?

3. What am I passionate and purposeful about?

4. Whom would I like to love on more this coming year?

5. What can I do better this coming year?

6. What/whom am I grateful for and how can I express it?

7. Where did I come from and where am I going?

Those are certainly some questions I’ll be pondering on this season as I take time out to reflect. Hope you will join me and take time to focus on that which is ‘important but not urgent’ in this Christmas season.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page